Poor mans Automation Phase 3

Crestron lighting control is right out. The light switches cost $300 each alone and need wiring or you need to buy the Infinet ones and a RF gateway for even more money. X10 is absolute garbage unless you like randomly functioning lights. But an X10 like technology that does actually work and is affordable is available. It's called insteon. It goes in your wall and uses wireless and X10 communication to control lighting. You can get a simple insteon controller and automator to run your system and home. Insteon works GREAT for smaller homes. 18 switches/loads or less. Apartments/ condos/ small homes it works great. You CANT just buy the switches and hope for the best. you need to buy the repeaters and gateways and locate them correctly.

There is a problem though, and it exists for ALL lighting control systems. If you home is IMPROPERLY wired like most were in the 20's-50's and dont have hot, ground and common all in the switch and then run the load line to the lamp, none of these will work. It seems that it was common for older homes to be wired wrong and run the power to the fixture and then split a pair of wires to the switch. This kind of home will need to be rewired correctly for the switches to work. X10 has some that work in this instance, but again, X10 is garbage.

The other drawback is if you use dimmers, you cant use CFL lamps. even the "dimmable" ones really hate automation systems. You can get relay based switches from insteon that will work great for CFL lights, but you dont get the cool fade on fade off effect.


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